The Writing Tag

Saturday, July 29, 2017

I'm finally getting to this long overdue writing tag! Many thanks to Jem Jones and Lilly for tagging me! Alright, let's get started with the questions....
What Genres, Styles, and Topics Do You Write About?
I write under the YA Christian fiction umbrella, and so far, beneath that, I’ve explored contemporary, mystery, fantasy, and historical. Historical and contemporary have been the ones I’ve “clicked” with the most—in fact; I’m currently working on a contemporary project and a historical project.
I’m a little confused about the styles part of the question, but topics I write about… I like to write about topics that are near and dear to my heart such as my faith, Uganda, etc.

How Long Have You Been Writing?
I’ve been writing seriously for about two years now, but when I was little I would draw a bunch of pictures and have my mother staple them together as books. I would then narrate the wording for each page to my mother and she’d dutifully write my words down. I don’t have any of these books, but I do have my very first book I ever “wrote.” It’s all about Dora and her friends with my scribbled drawings and stickers dotting the pages—not a bad start for a promising career. xD

Why Do You Write?
Here are five reasons I write: 
1. I believe that God gave me this gift of writing, and I want to use it to glorify him to the best of my ability.
2. Writing is like a “therapy session” for me when I’m feeling down, confused, etc.
3. Writing is a way I can be Jesus’ hands and feet.
4. Writing is a way I can run wild, make worlds, and learn.
5. Writing is my passion.

When is the Best Time to Write?
The best time to write is when you have any time to squeeze in writing at all! I try to write or work on a project for at least half an hour every day, and that half hour usually comes in the afternoon or before I go to bed… It really depends on what my family is doing, how many chores I have, etc.
What Parts of Writing Do You Love? What Parts Do You Hate?
I love being able to create worlds and have fun with my imagination. I love being able to touch people with my words. I love sitting in front of a first draft with a goofy smile on my face. I love reading my favorite quotes of my own work and dreaming of a hopeful someday when I can hold a print copy of my novel in my hands.

I hate losing steam in the middle of a project. I hate getting writer’s block. I hate being told that I’ll never make it. I hate that others don’t always understand why I love this and why I’m spending so much time doing this. I hate when my plot isn’t working and I’ve filled out a dozen plot outlines. But despite this, I’d never trade my love of writing for anything else.

How Do You Overcome a Writer's Block?
One way I overcome writer’s block is by skipping the scene I’m having a hard time with and marking it with a placeholder so I can come back later. Then, I continue writing until I’m ready for that particular scene. Another thing I do is re-motivate myself by creating playlists for my projects, collages, back cover blurbs…. Creative procrastination helps, just sayin’. xD

Are You Working on Something at the Moment?
Yes, I’m working on quite a few somethings. I’m still brainstorming a novella for the Rooglewood contest and am reconsidering if the contest is something I will be able to have time for this year. I’m brainstorming also with a plot bunny that won’t leave me alone (lots of brainstorming, y’all.). And then I’m also taking a look at Hiraeth and trying to decide what needs to be done with it (no, it’s not finished.).  Lots of charts and scribbles going on. =)

What Are Your Writing Goals This Year?
My number one goal is to finish at least one of the projects I’ve mentioned above. I hope to have a first draft of either Hiraeth or the contemporary story idea done by the fall and to then edit it throughout the winter and releasing it to beta readers.
My second goal is to submit more of my writing to other publications and hopefully get published by them.
I’m not much of a schedule/goal/deadline person, if you can tell. xD

I Tag...

YOU! That is, if you haven't joined in the fun of this tag yet. =)

What are you working on right now? Do you have any writing goals? What is your favorite way to creatively procrastinate? What’s your favorite genre to write in? Read in? Let’s talk!

Unwritten Melody Book Review

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Unwritten Melody is one of those books that you pick up to enjoy over and over again-laughing and sighing at your favorite parts. It'll have you singing along with James Russo and clicking at a typewriter in no time, trust me. =) Don't worry, I might get to my schedule that I had all planned out.... Maybe. I don't do well with schedules. xD

My Rating: Five Blocks of Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge
Back Cover Blurb
Does breaking free require breaking the rules?
Cassie Gilbert lives every day in the shadows of her deceased mom’s rebellion. But now that she’s seventeen, she finds herself longing to break away from her grandmother’s suffocating rules, experience what it’s like to be a regular teenager, and fulfill her songwriting dreams.
James Russo, former American Spotlight contestant, escapes to small town Willow Creek, SC hoping to flee from his tarnished past. When a school project pairs him with the shy principal’s granddaughter, he’s determined to get to know this Emily-Dickinson-obsessed and typewriter-using girl. His plan? Convince Cassie to co-write songs for his demo album.
As Cassie gets to know James over “project meetings” (more like opportunities to match her lyrics with his melodies), she becomes intrigued by his sense of adventure and contagious passion for music. But soon, his past becomes exposed. Cassie’s left to wonder—did she make the same mistake Mom did by falling for the bad boy?
Then, Grandma’s control pushes her over the edge. Cassie must choose between remaining in the chains of yesterday, or delving into her own freedom by completing the melody her mom left behind.
My Review
Unwritten Melody, a YA romance by Tessa Emily Hall, is a memorable tale of love, loss, hope, and healing. Once I picked it up, I couldn’t tear my eyes from the story of James Russo, a pop star seeking to escape his past in Willow Creek, South Carolina, and Cassie Gilbert, a small town girl with a thirst for freedom and the wish to be a “normal teen.”
One thing I loved about Unwritten Melody was how relatable the characters were. I could find myself nodding my head to bits and pieces of the beautiful story. Not to mention, Tessa skillfully mixes in a dash of humor and many praiseworthy messages. Quotable quotes are found throughout, and the story wasn’t just about the two teens falling in love, like many romances are, which is something I absolutely loved (pun intended =). 
The settings were painted so well that they became real in my mind. I loved the small town in South Carolina! The plot kept me flipping the pages (I finished reading in about two days). The characters were memorable, realistic, and relatable. The style of writing brought everything together as one amazing book.
Overall, Unwritten Melody is a must read, and a must re-read for me. Snag a copy on Amazon here, and be sure to check it out on Goodreads too!  
About The Author
img_5556Tessa Emily Hall writes inspirational yet authentic YA fiction to show others they’re not alone—and because she remembers the teen life like it was yesterday (or a few years ago). The debut novel she wrote at 16-years-old, PURPLE MOON (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) was a Selah 2014 Finalist. Her second novel, UNWRITTEN MELODY, releases with Clean Reads November 2016. She’s the Founder of, a magazine that inspires teens to embrace their calling. Tessa also enjoys helping writers achieve their dreams through her internship at Hartline Literary Agency.
When her fingers aren’t flying 116 WPM across the keyboard, Tessa can be found making healthy homemade lattes, speaking to teens, decorating her insulin pump, and acting in Christian films. She writes in a small town nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Southeastern coast. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on her blog, mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website.
Have you read Unwritten Melody? Do you like peanut butter fudge? Making music? Listening to music? Have you been to the beach? Or maybe to a quiet town in South Carolina? Let's chat!

I'm Back!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

I'M BACK!!!!!!! *cue epic music* Whew, that was a longer hiatus than I thought I'd take, but now I am SO ready to stick around the lovely blogosphere. A lot has happened since I've been gone, and I have the pictures to prove it. Be prepared.... There's quite a few. xD And please note that I'm not just doing a monthly highlights post this time around, I'm doing highlights from my the time since my hiatus.

  • My family got to go visit my cousins in beautiful Montana this past trip. We got to go to a super cool fair where a bunch of local vendors sold their handmade wares, and OH MY GOODNESS I FOUND THE MOST PERFECT NOTEBOOK FOR MY COLLECTION AT JUST MY TYPE DESIGN'S BOOTH. It's an 100 year old book that has been turned into a gorgeous notebook. And guess what? You refill this notebook with Moleskine notebooks so you can reuse it over. And over. And over. *sighs* I'm in love with it. And don't you LOVE the design of Montana on the cover? =)  
  • My sister and my cousin both turned 13. *jaw drops* How? Why? THEY ARE NOW TEENAGERS!!!!! 
  • Glacier National Park happened. See my main graphic up at the tippy top of this post? That's Going-To-The-Sun Road, one of the most beautiful roads I've ever been on. And how about those cute little red buses? Glacier was probably the most beautiful place I've ever been to. Mountains, waterfalls, forests hidden lakes.... I mean, take a look at Avalanche Lake (above). Best. Lunch view. Ever. The photo doesn't do it justice. Also, if you ever head up to Montana, grab a huckleberry chocolate bar. Scratch that, buy two. You'll thank me later. 
  • I also got to visit the Oregon coast recently. Tillamook ice cream, giant sand dunes, and a fun hike during which I photographed my little bird friend (above) ensued during that camping trip.  Isn't he so cute? =) 

The plot bunnies. Guys, THE PLOT BUNNIES. More stories, more ideas.... HELP!!!!!! I've taken a long writing break and am so ready to jump back in!

One plot bunny in the form of a collage. IT'S SO PRETTY I WANT TO WRITE ABOUT IT!

My favorite book I recently read: Glass Girl by Laura Anderson Kurk
I seriously finished this whole book in one day while sitting in a car during our trip. It was SO GOOD, and that same day I purchased its sequel to enjoy on the rest of the trip (which I'll get to later...). The main character was amazing, the setting was breathtaking, and the interactions between Henry and Meg were so sweet! A book review for this one may be coming soon. =)

My least favorite book I recently read: Perfect Glass by Laura Anderson Kurk 
Perfect Glass felt like a let down after Glass Girl, to be honest. I wasn't the biggest fan of Henry's POV and the love triangle going on felt SO cliche. *unhappy sigh*

 What have you all been up to? Plot bunnies, anyone? Have you read any of Laura Anderson Kurk's books? Have you found any cute notebooks lately? Eaten any ice cream (please say yes)? Let's talk, it's been FOREVER!

A Quick Hiatus...

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

It's finally SUMMER. *throws on sunglasses* Time to hack into my TBR, make a couple s'mores, and write till my heart's content. *dreamy sigh*
You all have probably noticed this, but I haven't been very active in the blogosphere lately. And to tell you the truth, I will continue to not be for awhile, due to more camping escapades, so I'll be going on a quick blogging hiatus until July. Don't worry, I'll be back soon, and you'll get to look forward to....
Some monthly highlights.
A post about 6 things my dad has taught me (I'm late again xD).
A quick blog series about some of my favorite books.
The writer's tag. 
I hope to see you all around here soon! =)

 What are you doing this summer? What's on your TBR? What's blasting through your headphones?

Is Writing A Real Job?-Guest Post By Tessa Emily Hall

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Today, I've had the opportunity to swap blogs with YA author Tessa Emily Hall! =) Check out my post on researching for your novel over at her blog here. Enjoy reading! =) I hope to see y'all in the comments! 
At 18-years-old, I faced a crossroads in my life: Pursue my heart’s desire to write, or settle for a stable career. A career that most people would consider to be a “real job” as opposed to being a writer.

I wasn’t at this crossroads for too long before I remembered I have absolutely no other passions or gifts that aren’t related to books and writing. (Other than acting, which isn’t necessarily considered a “real job”, either.)

Now that I’m 23 and have been journeying along this writing path for seven years now, I can say with confidence that, yes, writing is a real job. No, it’s not just a hobby. If it was just a hobby then I would not be making an income right now.

Think about the text we’re exposed to every day: Textbooks. Novels. Non-fiction books. Magazines. Newspapers. Newsletters. Ads. Manuals. TV and film (scripts). Catalogs. Greeting cards. Website copy. All of this text is written by a human, a human who was most likely paid to provide their content.

Young writers, be encouraged. There are many avenues that provide opportunities for you to offer your gift of words. Don’t let the naysayers convince you that this world does not need your ability to paint sentences with ink, or that you can’t make a living by working with words of some sort.
You may be saying, “Yeah, but it’s nearly impossible to make a living as a novelist.” That may be true. Being a novelist alone doesn’t necessarily pay the bills—unless you strike gold and become a huge best-selling author. Unless you establish a loyal readership and produce multiple books per year. And unless you can cultivate other streams of income in areas that would allow you to contribute your expertise in this field.

So if you’re at a crossroads, struggling to understand how to make a living as a writer, here’s a list of writing/book-related jobs that would give you the opportunity to work in the field of your passion.

·      Become a freelance editor
·      Become a freelance writer
·      Become a greeting card writer
·      Become a journalist
·      Teach writing/editing courses—online and offline
·      Work for a publishing company
·      Work for a literary agency
·      Work at a bookstore
·      Tutor kids in creative writing/English
·      Offer marketing/promotional services for authors

And in case you’re asking, “How are you doing it? What path did you choose after high school?”

Great question! After I graduated high school, I enrolled in a community college. About a year later, I pursued a Creative Writing degree at Christian Leadership University. I am now a part-time student and juggling the many hats I wear in the industry. Here’s what my roles look like:

·      I’m an author
·      I work as an Associate Agent at Hartline Literary
·      I work as a YA Acquisitions Editor at Illuminate YA (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas imprint)
·      I’m a freelance writer
·      I’m a freelance editor
·      I teach workshops at writing conferences across the US
·      I manage a Christian teen magazine I founded, Pursue Magazine
·      I coordinate blog tours for authors
·      I teach creative writing to young writers through my online mentorship, Write Now

Remember: You’ve been given your ability and passion to work with words/books for a reason. Do your research, receive wise counsel from your parents and advisors, and then prayerfully make decisions that concern your future. But please, if you feel as though you’ve been called into this field, then whatever you do, don’t write it off due to lack of faith. (Pun not intended!)  
About Tessa
Tessa Emily Hall writes inspirational yet authentic YA fiction to show teens they’re not alone. Her passion for shedding light on clean entertainment and media for teens lead her to a career as an Associate Agent at Hartline Literary Agency, YA Acquisitions Editor for Illuminate YA (LPC Imprint), and Founder/Editor of Tessa's first teen devotional will release with Bethany House in 2018. She's guilty of making way too many lattes and never finishing her to-read list. When her fingers aren’t flying 116 WPM across the keyboard, she can be found speaking to teens, decorating her insulin pump, and acting in Christian films. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on her blogmailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website:

Have you struggled with the assumption that writing can’t be a real job? Do you hope to pursue a career in the writing/publishing industry?

The Voices of YA Tag

Friday, June 9, 2017

To start things off, let's just say that I LOVE this tag. I mean, a tag all about the YA genre? Count me in! Thanks to Audrey @ Audrey Caylin  for tagging me and to Caitlin @ Quills and Coffee for creating this tag! All right, let's start with the rules....
Thank the person who tagged you.
Link to the original creator.
Answer the ten questions.
Tag at LEAST two other YA writers/bloggers. 
What draws you to YA?
Probably the fact that I am a young adult. xD But seriously, all stuff that has to do with age/maturity levels/number of zits aside, I love the fact that YA is real. It’s raw. It’s relatable. It paints stories with darkness and light, stories that shed hope and grace. 
Describe your writing process. Do you like outlines and structure, or seeing where the story takes you?
My writing process... I’m both a plotter and panster, so I first like to do some plotting. I’ll usually do some character sketches, research, and a plot arc. Then I can unleash the panster inside of me and start writing!
How long have you been writing? Where are you in your journey?
I’ve been writing for about two years or so. Currently, I’m working to get a novel together that I’d like to submit to agents and publishers. I don’t know what it’ll be, only time will tell, but I’d love to have a novel published by the time I’m 20. 
What do you need to write? Coffee? Music?
I don’t need anything to write, but I do like having a mug of salted caramel hot chocolate with me, and all of my notes on my story outlines, historical research, etc. I don’t mind having a great playlist with me either. =) 
If you could offer one piece of advice to another writer (OTHER THAN “don’t give up”), what would it be?
My one piece of advice would be to be this: Instead of letting your writerly insecurities dog you, write with passion and fall in love with your words. You are an AMAZING writer with breathtaking words. Believe it. Go spin your tales and change the world. 

What book still has you reeling from its plot twist? (*no spoilers please*)
What books are you most anticipating for this year?
I actually don’t have any books whose releases I’m anticipating. SOMEONE HELP ME AND FIND A BOOK I HAVE TO WAIT FOR!!!! 
In your opinion, which YA book/series has the most unique premise?
Most unique…. Probably Illusionarium by Heather Dixon. Alternate realities, fanitllium, Riven… Way unique, if you ask me. 
What is your all-time favorite quote from YA lit (I know, I’m cruel)?
Umm…. ONE QUOTE?!?!?! JUST ONE?!?!?! *begins hyperventilating How? Why? HOW? *mopes* Fine, how about this one… 
What book do you most hope will have a movie adaption?
TO GET TO YOU SOMEONE GET JOANNE BISCHOF’S TO GET TO YOU A MOVIE ADAPTION. Like… Just imagine it. Two surfers, an old van, one skateboarder, a girl and her family in an Airstream…. THAT IS THE BEST BOOK EVER OKAY?!?! *whispers* Sorry, all other books. I still love you too. 

I tag…
Clara @ The Zephyr

What about you? What draws YOU to YA? What is one of your favorite YA quotes? HAVE YOU READ TO GET TO YOU!?!?!?! What’s your writing process like?What books are you looking forward to? Curl up with your favorite puppy and let’s chat!

May Just Happened

Saturday, June 3, 2017

May just happened. And my computer is FINALLY working again after my dear old dog broke the charger. *happy dance* Let's reminisce a bit, shall we? 
Real Life
  • A super fun game night and a visit to a trampoline park with my amazing Bible study happened. Both events were super fun, even though I discovered that I CANNOT do an American Ninja Warrior course without falling off of it. Don't ask. xD 
Hiking... Again. xD But seriously, I love it!
  • My family went on two camping trips this month, one to the Oregon coast and one to the Washington coast. Both trips were SO FUN. The weather was amazing in Oregon, and while we were there, I got to hike part of the Lewis and Clark trail, see bald eagles, sea lions and the most ADORABLE mommy and baby whales…. I could go on. And although the weather wasn’t the greatest for camping in Washington, we got to hang out on the beach and go hiking with friends. I can't wait for more camping trips this summer!
  • Lots of cooking happened this month, including these absolutely delicious cupcakes (check out the recipe here). I think it’s safe to say that they were a hit…. I had no leftovers. xD
Of Notebooks…
Honestly, zero writing got done this month. After all of the craziness of Camp Nano, I took a break, but I’m up and at it again, with several new plot bunnies hopping around. I’m currently plotting a Snow White retelling for Rooglewood Press’s fairytale contest, not to mention working on Hiraeth. And judging from all of my lovely new plot bunnies, Hiraeth will be getting a nice second draft makeover. But for now, enjoy a slightly edited snippet (no spoilers, sorry. xD).

I close my now sticky eyes. “Where are you?” My voice is breathy, almost like a gust of wind that’s shrill and sad all at the same time. “Where are you?” A real breeze carries my question up to Heaven. “Where are you?”

I bow my head. How could he just watch all of the bad things happening down here?

And then, as if God has decided to answer, a faint whisper appears in my heart. Where were you?

I still. Job. He asked the same thing and received the same answer. I can almost see the Almighty shaking his head at me, a soft smile playing on his lips.

Where was I when God painted the sky a soft blue hue? Where was I when he spun clouds out of thin air? Where was I when he crafted the horses I see galloping across the plains? Where was I when he created time and space and dreamed up the entire earth?

Where was I?

The wind comes again, pushing wet strands of hair out of my face. I lift my head up to it, soaking in the cool, the calm. The sun beams down on me like a father’s smile—radiant and warm.

Darling, I was there. I was there for all of it, for all of you. I was there, as I always have been.
And strangely… I know that he was.

Still working on it, but I hope you enjoyed it! =)
Of Novels

Not too much reading got crammed into May, but I discovered some new authors that I absolutely LOVE. I thoroughly enjoyed every book I picked up, including Roadside Assistance by Amy Clifton, Illusionarium by Heather Dixon, and The Preacher’s Daughter by Beverly Lewis. *shoos you away to the library* Go read them right now! 
The Playlist

How was YOUR May? Will you be participating in the Rooglewood contest? Have you discovered any new authors? If so, do tell me aaalll about them! Are YOU being attacked by plot bunnies? What did you cook this month? What are your plans for the summer? Let's chat!

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